LoweCo. Valentine’s Giveaway with Catherine Giudici Lowe!

Will you accept this rose?

You may remember Catherine Giudici Lowe after turning Sean Lowe into a real life heart-eyes emoji on The Bachelor, but she’s way more than a recognized face from Reality TV. As a fellow believer in Christ, mommy, and Dallas transplant, she’s the creator behind LoweCo, a chic and whimsical take on the greeting card, inspired by her witty, written love notes to Sean during their time on the show.

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I’ve teamed up with LoweCo. just in time for Valentine’s Day to provide you guys with a top-notch giveaway! This is the perfect addition to up your Valentine’s game for whoever is lucky enough to say they’re yours. And if you’re single, fret not. This giveaway is perfect for spreading the love, or shall we say, the Lowe, to any of your close friends and family. Well, maybe with the exception of your dad. You’d be better off with Catherine’s “Dad You Rad” card in that case.

We will be giving away two of Catherine’s “BE VALENMINE” cards in both “Poco” and “Macho” sizes, to double the amount of love you receive. On top of that, I’ll be personally selecting two winners, because why not spread the Lowe?

If you want to win this amazing giveaway, all you need to do is follow these 2 easy steps:

  1. Follow @thebeautyofourimperfection, @hannahonthegrams, and @lowe_co on Instagram.
  2. Subscribe to my new YouTube channel at youtube.com/hannahchoi.

Once you’ve completed all the steps, leave a comment on the original post or send me a DM on Instagram letting me know that you’ve completed the steps!

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This giveaway will officially close on February 13th, 2017 at 11:59PM. As mentioned above, I’ll be selecting and announcing two lucky recipients of Catherine’s beautifully embossed “BE VALENMINE” cards as seen here.

Happy (early) Valentine’s Day y’all, I’m super excited for you guys to enter to win this giveaway, and to see why Catherine’s LoweCo. cards are all the rage. Can’t wait to pick two winners to “be valenmine!”

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More on LoweCo. down below:

LoweCo. is a chic, whimsical take on the greeting card, which we like to call a treating card. Each saying was created by Catherine Lowe to put a smile on the recipient’s face. Whether the occasion is a birthday, a congratulations or just a fun, spicy hello, LoweCo. has a special way of spreading the love. And we think ya gotta spread the love.

LoweCo. cards are all about fun messages with a crisp and elegant delivery. We carry unique sizes; our pocos (folded to 3x3in) are perfect for slipping in a boyfriend’s coat pocket, a BFF’s purse or on a bouquet of flowers. Our machos (flat 5x5in) are wonderful for writing a sweet letter to your significant other or as an elegant accent on a pretty present.

Because our paper is embossed for texture, you can truly “feel the Lowe”. Whether you want to remind a loved one that you care or you only want to sign your name and let the cards speak for themselves, you (and your lucky and loved friend) are in for a treat. A refreshing, delicious treat. Shop our entire collection on goloweco.com.

 

 

 

 

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My MiniLuxe Review & Life Updates

This past Thursday, I had one of the best spa experiences I’ve ever had. I very rarely give service-related businesses a complete 5-star rating, as I tend to be quite selective especially when it comes to getting my nails done, keeping cleanliness, execution, and excellent customer service in mind.

In comes MiniLuxe. I was already very familiar with the brand prior to my most recent visit, as they’ve established themselves as a top-tier, luxury nail salon brand across the country, primarily in Boston, LA, and Dallas.

I went to the location in the Dallas area, specifically located inside The Shops at Legacy in Plano, TX. At first glance, everything from the brightly-lit storefront aesthetic to the upscale, modern decor caught my eye right away.

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As you walk inside, you’re greeted by this pristinely organized polish wall, in which I selected a dark purple color (perfect for the wintertime) from their Advanced Performance Polish line, which is just like a gel-manicure, without the fuss of having to use acetone and foil to remove. Also, their polish is completely vegan and formulated without the use of harmful chemicals that’s normally in other common brands on the market.

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Be sure to watch this 2-minute manicure and pedicure demo in 1080p HD before getting further into the review so you can experience this all with your very own eyes:

My MiniLuxe YouTube Demo

Moving onwards, the manicure and pedicure (as featured in the video above) was an absolutely incredible experience. They use disposable tools for each service, so they’ll never use any nail files that have been used on another customer. To me, that’s such an important factor because you don’t want to risk spreading germs or disease, especially when it comes to your hands and feet.

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Their pedicure section offers two different types of seating. One personalized individual area (as shown above) and another cozy, lounge type of area for groups (as shown below).

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My favorite part of both my manicure and pedicure was when I was scrubbed and massaged with their signature “Lemon-Aide” sugar scrub and body cream. The citrusy scent is so refreshing and light, and on top of that, it’s paraben-free. Win win.

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Overall, my experience at MiniLuxe at The Shops at Legacy was truly an unforgettable one. Along with a specialized selection of manicures and pedicures, they also offer a variety of waxing services and add-ons for an additional fee. They were kind enough to offer me to try those as well, but unfortunately I didn’t have the time to stay longer. (If time wasn’t a factor, I would’ve sat there all day!)

Important Note:

This post was sponsored by MiniLuxe as they provided an afternoon of complimentary services and products to take home with me. However, as with all of my sponsored posts, I would never recommend anything to you guys that I don’t personally like or endorse on my own terms. As mentioned before, I have intentionally turned down other sponsorship opportunities because I either didn’t like the brand, or it just wasn’t the right fit for my blog.

That being said, I would highly recommend MiniLuxe to all of my girlfriends, family, and of course, to my readers and subscribers. Be sure to check if there’s a location near you to treat yourself to some much-needed rest and relaxation!

Thanks so much to the staff at MiniLuxe (Shops at Legacy) for an amazing experience, specifically the ladies at the front desk, Sophie, and to Rosa and Thalia, who did my manicure and pedicure, respectively.

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Updates & Announcements:

If you haven’t watched my “10 Weird Facts About Me” video yet, here’s the link to that. For those of you guys that don’t know, I’m extremely quirky. And I’ve come to embrace that 110%!

Also, I’m officially back in Dallas after visiting my family on the east coast and vacationing in San Juan for the Holidays. It’s so good to be back home, but it’s definitely bittersweet as I miss all of my girlfriends back in NJ & NYC. I concluded my “Back to Jersey” vlog series with my final “Farewell New Jersey” vlog here:

Yesterday my hubby and I went to Top Golf in Dallas for the first time and we had a blast! Well, except for the fact that we were freezing because it was snowing and was 20-degrees outside. This picture is blurry because we attempted to use the self-timer feature and it was way too cold to try taking another photo. Thankfully, next week, my family will be flying to Dallas, and the temperature will rise to the 60’s and 70’s. Only in Texas y’all, only in Texas.

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Lastly, I’ve been seriously loving my Mandy Cosmetics  mink lashes in “Vixen” lately, because it doesn’t even feel like I’m wearing them! They’re super comfortable and long-lasting. For 10% off your very own pair of lashes, use my code “ImperfectlyBeautiful” at checkout:

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Have a blessed (and relaxed) weekend everyone, I’ll talk to you guys in my next post and YouTube video!

My Trip To San Juan, Puerto Rico

I’ve run out of adjectives to describe how beautiful the past five days in San Juan, Puerto Rico have been. While it’s truly been a dream-like destination getaway, my toddler has kept me grounded in reality, since he’s much more active and outspoken now. This trip has had its share of spilled juice, food particles all over myself, and everything else that motherhood entails.

Since words simply can’t explain how incredibly stunning the sights were in San Juan, I just uploaded my latest travel vlog sharing glimpses of my time here at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel & Resort with my family. I also explored Old San Juan, eateries and shops in downtown San Juan, and of course, bits of life as a young mom enjoying the breathtaking beaches, interesting views, and facilities offered by the Condado Vanderbilt.

Hope you all enjoy these unbelievably beautiful sights below as much as I did!

My San Juan, Puerto Rico 2016 Travel Vlog

 

Tonttu Box Review

If you’re a mommy, you know more than anyone how busy our job is. It’s a 24/7, unending affair. Never again will I underestimate the ability to be able to go somewhere with free hands, instead of clumsily lugging around a stroller, diaper bag, insulated food carrier, the list goes on- all while attempting to keep my clothes from looking like an art project gone wrong, and desperately trying to keep my toddler tantrum + tear free.

It seems like an annual Mother’s Day celebration just isn’t enough sometimes to recognize all of our unseen, daily efforts. But that’s exactly where Tonttu Box comes in.

If you haven’t heard of the brand before, Tonttu Box is a monthly subscription box for both mommy-to-bes and current mommies alike. For $39.99 a month, you receive a personally selected box of goodies for you and your little one. And if you’re sitting there telling yourself that $40 a month might not be worth it, the value of the goodies inside exceeds the $40 you’d pay, so it’s a great bang for your buck.

Last week, I finally received my Tonttu Box in the mail and I’m so excited to share with you guys what was in my box, as well as my thoughts on all the products inside.

(As a disclaimer, this is a sponsored post and I received this box for free. However, as always, all opinions shared on my blog are 100% my own, and every sponsored product I review is a product that I personally love and highly recommend.)

Here’s what was in my November 2016 Tonttu Box:

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Botany and Wax “Cranberry Marmelade” ($12.00)

Where to even start with this? This is one of my most beloved products in the box because it seriously smells like the holidays. When I first opened up the jar and got a big whiff of the scent, a rush of Thanksgiving and Christmas nostalgia went straight through my veins. This might just be one of my favorite scents. (Which is saying a lot, since I love my candles.)

Mint & Feather “Bows and Bowties” ($8.50)

This is a cute bow + bowtie that can either be placed in your little girl’s hair or on your little boy’s shirt. It’s a sweet little accessory to have on hand for dressier days.

Brinware Placemat ($8.50)

This placemat is so handy. It sticks to any surface easily and makes meal times a lot less messier. You simply wipe off any reside from the silicone surface and bam! You have yourself a quick cleanup.

VOESH Collagen Gloves and Socks ($14.00)

These two products tied with the Botany and Wax Candle for my #1 favorite products in the box. Talk about a quick (and much-needed) pampering treatment that can be easily applied in the comforts of your own home.

The collagen gloves and socks were super easy to apply and weren’t messy in the slightest. The smell of the lotion inside was light and pleasant. Afterwards, my hands and feet felt as soft as my toddler’s cheeks. Seriously! I just applied them at night for a few minutes while watching Food Network, and rubbed the rest of the product residue onto my arms and legs for an extra treat.

Original Squeeze Bottle ($15.00)

This bottle couldn’t have come at a better time. My little one loves homemade smoothies, and I couldn’t find the right solution for how to serve a smoothie without a mess. I tried straw cups and all the like, but the smoothie was always too thick to go through the straw.

This squeeze bottle makes it easy to bring along any type of puree or smoothie on-the-go without a mess. The only negative I have about the product is that it can potentially be messy, since there’s no leak valve to prevent the liquid from coming out, so it’s definitely for toddlers 2+. My little one isn’t there yet, but a few more months, and this squeeze bottle will be perfect for him!

Overall, I would highly recommend the Tonttu Box for all mommies and mommy-to-bes out there. It’s the perfect gift for a friend or family member too. There’s just something so special about receiving a package in the mail filled with little surprises.

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How To Get Brands To Sponsor Your Blog

When I first launched this blog a few months ago in May, I had no idea I would be collaborating with other brands and companies to test out their products (and promote them if I ended up liking the product) just over a month later. So far, I’ve been able to work with brands like Makeup Forever, Marc Jacobs Beauty, The Story Box, Formula X Nail, Savvy Sleepers, Real Techniques, JORD Wood Watches, Tonttu Box, and Mandy Cosmetics, to name some examples.

As I stated a few times in previous posts, I initially created this blog to provide a space where I could be transparent about past struggles and insecurities, so I could encourage and remind others that there’s hope in Christ. And that hasn’t changed one bit. That’s still my primary focus and vision in the midst of working with sponsors.

But I was surprised by how quickly I was offered the opportunity to work with some of my favorite beauty + fashion brands, because frankly, I didn’t think I had much to offer. (Keep in mind, with both my Instagram accounts combined, I currently have about 1,700 followers, which isn’t very much compared to full-time bloggers who make a substantial living due to their following.)

So as you can imagine, in the beginning, I was eager and willing to collaborate. Gradually, one opportunity followed after another. And another. And now, I’m handling several different collaborations at a time, needing to actually space them out and schedule them accordingly!

Sponsorships and product collaborations are wonderful for several reasons. Not only do you receive high-quality + free products and get paid, but you also have the ability to create more helpful content and expand your overall network. Once you determine your niche within the blogger-sphere, your sponsorships should also match that same niche. For example, this is a Christian lifestyle blog that ties in my faith, beauty products, mommy life, and weight-loss journey all together, so the brands that reach out to me are typically within the same niche.

I’ve had a few brands who have reached out to me but had nothing to do with my blog or any of my personal interests for that matter, so I ended up kindly turning down those opportunities. The whole point of sponsorships is to enhance your overall blog, not detract from it. So kindly saying no to certain opportunities with sponsors is just as important, especially if it’s not a good match.

I wanted to share a few tips on how to get sponsorships for any bloggers out there who are curious about the process, so here are my primary suggestions:

1. Quality > Quantity.

Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t have a significant social media presence or following compared to many mainstream bloggers. But I realized the numbers don’t matter as much as the content quality, staying true to myself, and an overall, consistent level of sincere engagement. I’ve come across several accounts that have thousands of followers, but very little engagement and a disorganized theme/feed.

Unless you’re a celebrity, your blog aesthetic matters. Because a huge part of blogging is inevitably about your content and how it’s presented, refining all aspects of your blog is important. Everything from the way your posts are written, how your website looks, and how your respective social media platforms are maintained does matter. While building a following is necessary, that shouldn’t be the main focus if that compromises your content quality.

I’m currently in the process of upgrading my blog aesthetic and investing in better equipment for clearer, crisper pictures. Truth be told, I’ve been using my iPhone 6+ for everything including my social media channels, so it’s definitely time to purchase a DSLR now that I’m starting to blog full-time as a brand ambassador for a few of my favorite (+ relevant) brands.

2. Discover your own voice and let it shine through.

There are so many blogs out there. And a lot of them are carbon copies of each other. What differentiates yours from others? Well, you, of course! People can tell whether or not you’re being genuine. And even if you were hypothetically fooling them, what’s the point of doing this if you’re not actually being yourself and enjoying it along the way? Finding your own voice is vital because it sets the tone for your blog and what your readers should expect. They’re getting to know you with each post that you write, so it’s crucial that you remain true to yourself if you want to build a loyal, engaging following.

3. Prepare and design a media kit.

A media kit is like a visual resume for your blog. It can come in handy if brands ask for more information from you to see if you’d be a good fit for them. If you’re interested in learning more about media kits, feel free to comment below and I’d be happy to answer any other questions in more detail.

4. Don’t overload yourself with sponsorships.

Once you get to a point where various brands are contacting you offering the opportunity to work with them, make sure to discern whether or not you’re in a place you can handle that on top of your own content aside from product ads and sponsors. You don’t want the number of sponsored posts to outnumber your actual content. Unfortunately, it’ll come off as insincere and “salesy” so ensuring the right balance is key.

5. Condense your social media platforms.

Lastly, pick which social media platforms (aside from your blog itself) that you want to focus on. Instagram made the most sense for me and has been the most helpful in directing people to my blog. I don’t have a Twitter, and rarely use my Facebook page. If you’re the jack of all trades and can manage all successfully, go for it. But for me personally, the thought of trying to handle all of that gives me a headache. Especially as a mom!

One final note, if a brand you would really love to work with doesn’t reach out to you first, try reaching out to them once you’ve refined all aspects your blog (as I mentioned in the first point) and send them your media kit. Some brands are less active on social media platforms, so it doesn’t hurt to make the first move.

I hope this post was helpful to you guys, especially if you’re just starting out and interested in taking your blog to the next level. If you have any other questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them down below and share my two cents.

Have a blessed weekend!

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JORD Wood Watch $75 Giveaway!

 

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As a first-time mom, being punctual is a challenging task. In a nutshell, time management has gone out the window for me. But thankfully, JORD Wood Watches has come to the rescue!

With their fashion-forward, timeless pieces, I can stay on track of time without having to pull out my iPhone and avoid being rude in public settings. A simple glance at my wrist and boom, problem solved!

The design and build of the watch is so intricate and gorgeous, and is easily matchable with all of my outfits, whether I’m in mommy clothes (gym shorts and a big tee, anyone?) or dressed up for a special occasion. I love that it’s handmade out of wood, which really distinguishes it from other popular brands that are on the market. Not to mention, the gold finishes on my Frankie watch (in Zebrawood and Champagne pictured below) add the classiest touch.

Want to win $75 towards your own JORD wood watch? (All participants receive a $20 gift code just for entering!) Read more on how to win down below.

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I’ve teamed up with JORD Wood Watches to provide my followers and subscribers with the opportunity to win $75 towards your very own JORD wood watch! They offer a wide selection for both women and men, in all different colors and finishes. You can enter for yourself, or for a loved one! And as I mentioned before, you receive a $20 gift code just for entering. The process is super easy and simple too.

Here’s what you need to do:

Click either of the links down below to browse their collection and select the watch you like the most.

Women’s Shop

Men’s Shop

Then, click this giveaway link to fill out your respective contact information and select the watch you liked the best out of their collection. (If you win, you’ll be contacted by JORD Wood Watches. But as I mentioned before, just for participating in the giveaway, you’ll receive a $20 gift code!)

JORD Giveaway Entry Link

If you liked the watch that was featured in my blog post, here’s the link to the exact same one.

Hannah’s Frankie Wood Watch

I’m so excited for y’all to be able to check out JORD Wood Watches and enter to win your very own piece! This giveaway will be open until November 13th, 2016 so feel free to share with your family and friends to increase your chances. There’s no time to waste!

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This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. I received the watch (pictured above) for free for collaborative purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.


Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation Review

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an unwavering fan of liquid foundation. For the past decade, I’ve tried everything from affordable drugstore options to high end, wallet-breaking ones.

That being said, I finally discovered my favorite foundation from Lancome about 4 years ago, and it’s become a staple in my makeup collection ever since. Literally, I haven’t ventured off to try other brands because I fell in love with the product too much to even consider other options.

Until Makeup Forever sent me their Ultra HD liquid foundation + Ultra HD foundation stick to try out and review. Free products, without any risk involved?! Clearly, I was thrilled to try them out without any strings attached. But could I possible love something more than the foundation I’ve been using for years?

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I decided to give it a fair chance. And after trying both award-winning foundations out multiple times, I discovered both pros and cons to each. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Makeup Forever Ultra HD Liquid Foundation ($43.00)

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First off, I love the packaging. It’s super sleek and durable, and looks great on my makeup table. I’m all about the little details, so having a nice display piece is always a plus.

As for the foundation itself, I love how buildable this product is. It offers medium to heavy coverage, depending on how many layers you want to go for. I found that I can achieve everything from a natural, everyday look to a photo-ready, professional look with this foundation. I absolutely loved the dewiness. It added brightness to my face which I desperately needed (thanks, motherhood!)

The color matched my skin perfectly, though it was a cooler tone than my usual foundation. It was obvious why so many people raved about this foundation, because after using a bit of the product with a damp beauty blender, the final finish was flawless and smooth.

However, I did discover one thing I didn’t like about the product. I noticed that it smudged easily throughout the day, which is a problem I rarely encountered with my usual foundation. Even the most gentle swipes against my face led to streaks over my nails, clothes, and hands. The consistency of the foundation was also a lot thinner and more watery than I was used to, which also explains why it came off a lot easier.

All in all, I’d definitely purchase this on my own in the future and incorporate it into my makeup routine for frequent use. While it isn’t something I’d default to for an everyday look, since my Lancome foundation stays put even with a thin layer, I’d definitely use it for full-coverage makeup looks, as that’s something my Lancome foundation doesn’t achieve as well.

Moving onto the Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation Stick ($43.00)

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Can I be honest? I’ve never been a fan of foundation sticks. To me, they’re an awkward mix of liquid foundation and powder, and always end up looking either super cakey or oily on my skin. (I have combination skin.) I was apprehensive at first, but I discovered one great use for this product.

Using it solely as a foundation, I wasn’t a fan. I felt like it was too heavy, and made my skin look too oily. The shade also wasn’t a perfect match, which made it a lot harder for me to blend in, especially between the neck and chin area.

However, it was the perfect texture and consistency to use as a concealer for contouring. Since it was so smooth and blendable, I tried using it in the areas that I wanted to lighten (the bridge of my nose, forehead, and chin) and found that it was a perfect tool for quick and easy contouring.

Considering the price point and product itself, I wouldn’t continue using it as a foundation. So if I were to purchase this product on my own, I’d go a few shades lighter than my skin tone and use it as a concealer.

Overall, I definitely loved the Ultra HD liquid foundation and will continue to use that for special occasions, photoshoots, and date nights. It’s perfect for hiding imperfections (scars, pimples, redness) especially if you’re getting photos professionally done. I’d highly recommend their liquid foundation without a doubt. You can find both products at your local Sephora or Makeup Forever store.

Do you prefer liquid, stick, or powder foundation? What’s your go-to brand? Share with me down below!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I received these products for free from Makeup Forever in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All opinions are 100% my own.

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65 Pounds To Go: Weight Loss Journey Updates

I’m all about owning up to responsibility and all, but I’m going to take a moment and blame Texas for all the delicious food I’m surrounded by. I kid. Sort of. (But really, why am I surrounded by so many alluring temptations?!)

In all seriousness though, I’ll be honest. My weight loss journey has been pretty much non-existent. To the point where if I stepped on the scale, I’d be disappointed at the fact that I most likely put on some weight since my former post.

Not only am I a social eater, but I’m an emotional, late-night eater too. Once my toddler goes down, I get into the habit of snacking (or straight up eating another meal) shortly before sleeping, which clearly makes weight-loss impossible to achieve. This morning, after waking up feeling sick, and knowing that I needed to approach this differently, I decided to create a set game plan.

In my former post, I mentioned my previous problems with “extreme diets” that eventually backfired on me. Because of that, I decided to go in with the mentality that I’d approach my weight loss in a balanced way- cutting back on calories here and there, and eating certain foods in moderation. But in all honesty, that didn’t work for me.

I realized that I need to set up a clear structure to go by, or I simply won’t follow it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been (seriously) lacking in energy and justifying my sleep-deprivation as a parent by putting tons of junk inside my body. It’s a vicious cycle. More junk, less energy. More feeling sick, more regrets. Less motivation. More insecurity. Less productivity.

So here I am again. And this time, I’m setting clear-cut goals. I’m also creating meal plans on a daily basis, so I can keep track of what I’m consuming. I’m setting numbers because I need to have a reasonable goal laid in front of me, whereas before, with the lack of structure, I gave myself too much leeway.

So here’s my goal.

Within the next 2 to 3 years, I’m aiming to lose at least 45 pounds. However, I’m ultimately aiming to lose 65 pounds to return to my previous weight that I felt the most healthiest at.

So just to break down my goals for myself since I’m a visual person:

65 pounds to lose within a 2-3 year time span.

In 2 years: 32.5 lbs per year
Monthly: 2.7 lbs per month

In 3 years: 21.6 lbs per year
Monthly: 1.8 lbs per month

I feel like that’s a reasonable goal to set without putting too much pressure on myself, while giving me enough time for trial and error- to see what works best for my body. I know realistically with my toddler, I won’t be able to workout everyday, but I’m aiming for at least 30 minutes of cardio 3x a week.

In regards to food, I’ve made a commitment to start eating more nutritiously. I’ve been primarily consuming a ton of starches and dairy, so I’m going to cut back on those and incorporate a lot more vegetables with protein. I love frittatas, taco salads, and Acai bowls, so I’m going to consume a lot of those and work on creating healthy variations of each.

There were so many times these past few months where I wanted to just throw the towel and give up, thinking to myself that I’d just accept this heavier frame of mine. But I just don’t feel good. As I mentioned in my prior post, I feel sick. My body aches. It’s that much more of a hassle to do basic things that I used to be able to do with ease, because I can literally feel the weight with every step I take. This is something I need to do. For myself, for my family, and to better serve those around me.

So here I go again. Take two. Please keep me in your prayers, y’all!

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The Cons of Social Media

“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook (and all social media) will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
-John Piper

Boom. Such truth.

It’s interesting how the original idea behind the smartphone, and all social media applications that emerged because of it, was created to better connect us in ways that weren’t accessible before. We’re now able to “socialize” without worrying about international fees, physical distance, or any other inconvenient boundaries.

Yet, such convenience comes at a price.

Everywhere I turn, whether it’s at the grocery store, the kid’s play area at the mall, restaurants, and practically all day-to-day social settings, people are glued to their phones. And that’s when it dawned on me: I don’t want to be that person.

My husband and I have an unspoken rule for our family. No phones while we’re eating. No phones while we’re enjoying quality time with each other, with the exception of taking a few photos if we’re out and about. If I get lost in taking too many photos instead of simply enjoying the moment, he’ll gently nudge me as a loving reminder- which I’ve come to seriously appreciate.

That being said, it’s a little too easy to lose track of time browsing news feeds on various apps (Facebook and Instagram primarily), checking e-mails coming in every other minute, receiving notifications for my blog- the list goes on. And while social media has ultimately become a part of our culture in this generation, I don’t want it to translate into my family life.

Too much time on social media detracts from our quality of life. People are posting their edited highlight reels, which most (if not all) of the time, are inaccurate depictions of their actual lives. We can easily get caught up in comparing our unedited, un-enhanced, (completely normal) lives, to the over-saturated, perfectly angled illusions of life that we see on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, you name it.

As a believer, I’m thankful for the platform social media allows in sharing the gospel as a counter-cultural movement to get people thinking. It also creates a space for an uplifting online community, which is one of the primary reasons I launched this platform, to provide support and hope for women who are hurting + wrestling through hardships- to remind them that they’re not alone in their struggles.

But I’m well aware that social media is not the same thing as being social. Genuinely socializing. Building relationship. Being intentional and delving into deeper relationships with others in person is something social media simply can’t and never will replace. God created us as social beings- to be known deeply. Without technology in between us. Being present and in the moment is thus essential for our spiritual growth and the growth of our surrounding community.

So I want to challenge you, (as I’m applying this to myself as well), to spend less time on your devices. To be more intentional and present with your surroundings. To engage. Deepen relationships. Detach yourself from the unnecessary dependencies that technology has created.

For me, I’m challenging myself to spend more time in prayer and in the Word. John Piper hit the nail on the head with the quote I shared above. We have no excuse by saying we don’t have enough time in the day, if we still have time to spend on social media. It’s a conviction I don’t take lightly. Jesus comes first. And if I’m going to claim that in my own life, there needs to be action. Talk is cheap, and easy to do. But as cliche as the following statement is, it’s true- actions really do speak louder than words. So may we all practice what we preach.

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My Signature Acai Bowl Recipe In 5 Simple Steps

I’m particularly excited about sharing this recipe with you guys since Acai bowls have become my favorite breakfast item ever since I discovered them at Nekter Juice Bar.

Once I tried my very first Acai Banana Berry bowl, I was hooked. Problem was, they also came with a pretty steep price tag at $7.95 a bowl. I decided to experiment with a few different recipes, and came up with my own. This recipe is equally healthy as it is satisfying, and especially perfect for hot summer days:

What You Need:

  1. Any frozen triple-berry mix including strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries
  2. Frozen Acai pulp (available at certain Whole Foods locations)
  3. Organic whole milk
  4. Raw honey
  5. 1 banana
  6. Fresh fruit (I like to use strawberries and blueberries)

Directions (with pictures):

1. Add 1 & 1/2 cups of organic whole milk to the bottom of the blender. Then, add a 1/2 cup of Acai pulp and 2 cups of the frozen berry mix. Cut half of a banana and throw that on top.

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2. Drizzle as much raw honey to your liking on top.

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I use Nature Nate’s 100% Pure Raw Honey, purchased this in bulk at Costco:

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3. Prepare your fresh fruit toppings by washing and slicing them as such. (I just used the remaining half of the banana I used)

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4. Blend the Acai mixture until smooth and icy.

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Before putting the mixture into a bowl, I poured some into a straw cup for my toddler to enjoy! (He’s hooked on Acai bowls which is great, since they’re a tasty source of nutrients, vitamins, and have tons of fiber in them to help with his constipation issues.)

5. Lastly, pour the mixture into a bowl and top with your fresh fruit toppings. You can also add granola, nuts, cacao nibs, chia seeds, bee pollen- whatever your tastebuds desire. But I decided to keep it simple today and just stick with fruit!

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Bon appetit!
In all honesty, I now prefer Acai bowls more than I do ice cream, or even fro-yo. (And that’s a bold statement considering how much I love my fro-yo.)

Hope this simple recipe encourages you to try making your very own Acai bowl. They’re super tasty, and most importantly, good for your health. As I’m continuing my weight-loss journey, I’m trying to implement lifestyle changes that I can realistically maintain on a daily basis. Making my own Acai bowls has definitely been a lifesaver in terms of both my health and finances.

Let’s stay in touch throughout the week down below! I’m looking forward to the end of the week as we’re going on a little staycation at a nearby resort for my early birthday celebration combined with 4th of July festivities!

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